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Off Season

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176 pages
Readers of Hoop Crazy will remember Ned as the bug-loving beanpole who lives in an isolated national park out West, three hours from the nearest basketball court. But Ned's participation in the three-on-three tournament when he visited Nick has sparked his interest in the game and now he and his father have built their own basketball court in the wilderness. And Ned's hoop skills have improved considerably. Nick and Kia are just beginning to get the hang of life in the wilderness when disaster strikes. A raging forest fire threatens to destroy Ned's home and cut off their escape.
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Off฀Season
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Off฀SeasonEric Walters
Orca฀Book฀Publishers
Copyright © 2003 Eric Walters
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Walters, Eric, 1957-
 Off season / Eric Walters.
ISBN 1-55143-237-4
(Orca young readers)
I. Title. II. Series.
PS8595.A598O43 2003 jC813’.54 C2003-910199-1
PZ7.W17129Of 2003
Library of Congress Control Number:2003101353
Summary: Nick and Kia are just beginning to get the hang of life in the wilderness when a raging forest fire threatens to destroy Ned’s home and cut off their escape.
Teachers’ guide available from 1-800-210-5277 or www. orcabook.com
O r c a B o o k P u b l i s h e r s g r a t e f u l l y a c k n o w l e d g e s t h e s u p p o r t o f i t s p u b l i s h i n g p r o g r a m s p r o v i d e d b y t h e f o l l o w i n g a g e n c i e s : t h e D e p a r t m e n t o f C a n a d i a n H e r i t a g e , t h e C a n a d a C o u n c i l for the Arts, and the British Columbia Arts Council.
Cover design by Christine Toller Cover & interior illustrations by John Mantha / Mantha Designs Printed and bound in Canada
IN CANADAOrca Book Publishers 1030 North Park Street Victoria, BC Canada V8T 1C6
IN THE UNITED STATESOrca Book Publishers PO Box 468 Custer, WA USA 98240-0468
05 04 03 • 5 4 3 2 1
Basketball certainly isn’t life, but if it’s played well, it can teach some important lessons about life. Play, enjoy, live!
EW
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ChapterOne
“Under฀the฀‘I,’฀seventeen.” Gotit!Kiasaidassheplacedamarkeronher฀bingo฀card. “Under฀the฀‘N,’฀thirty-four.” “No฀ good.฀ If฀ she’d฀ call฀ out฀ ‘N’฀ forty-four฀ and฀then฀‘O’฀sixty-nine,฀I’d฀have฀bingo.” “Gee,฀wouldn’t฀that฀be฀exciting,”฀I฀mumbled. “More฀ exciting฀ than฀ not฀ playing.฀ I฀ don’t know฀why฀you฀didn’t฀get฀a฀card฀and฀play.” “It’s฀ just฀ too฀ strange฀ to฀ be฀ playing฀ bingo฀ on฀an฀air฀—฀” “Under฀the฀‘O,’฀sixty-nine.” Kia฀ screeched฀ with฀ delight฀ as฀ she฀ marked off฀the฀spot.฀“Just฀one฀more฀number.” “You฀know฀what฀that฀means,”฀I฀said. “Shut฀up,฀Nick.” “Ever y฀ time฀ you฀ get฀ to฀ one฀ number฀ left,฀ somebody฀else฀wins฀the฀—฀” “Shut฀up,฀Nick.” “Under฀the฀‘B,’฀seven.” “Bingo!”฀somebody฀yelled฀out฀from฀the฀back.฀
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Kia฀shot฀me฀a฀dirty฀look,฀as฀if฀somehow฀my฀ predicting฀it฀had฀made฀it฀come฀true,฀and฀if฀I’d฀ kept฀my฀mouth฀shut฀the฀bingo฀wouldn’t฀have฀ happened. “We฀ have฀ a฀ bingo,”฀ the฀ announcer฀ —฀ the฀ flight฀ attendant฀ —฀ said.฀ “Please฀ hold฀ onto฀ your฀ cards฀ until฀ the฀ winning฀ card฀ has฀ been฀ checked.”฀ She฀ walked฀ past฀ us฀ and฀ down฀ the฀ aisle. IhopetheprizeisntanythingthatIreallywanted,”฀Kia฀said. Youmeanlikefood?Iasked.WhatIre-ally฀want฀is฀a฀meal.” The฀flight฀attendant฀came฀back฀up฀the฀aisle฀ and฀ picked฀ up฀ the฀ microphone.฀ “We฀ have฀ a฀ winner.” Thereweregroansthatechoedthroughout the฀plane. Andthatwasourlastgame,shecontinuedand฀even฀louder฀groans฀followed. “Your฀ attendants฀ will฀ be฀ coming฀ and฀ col-lecting฀your฀cards฀and฀markers.฀Thank฀you฀for฀ par ticipating฀ in฀ bingo฀ —฀ a฀ game฀ where฀ the฀ stakes฀aren’t฀high,฀but฀where฀the฀players฀are฀.฀ .฀.฀thirty-two฀thousand฀feet฀high.” Thishasgottobethecraziestairlineinthewhole฀world,”฀I฀said,฀shaking฀my฀head. “It฀has฀been฀a฀little฀different.”
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“A฀ little?”฀ I฀ questioned.฀ “No฀ movie,฀ no meals,฀no฀headphones,฀pillows฀or฀blankets.” “Bargain฀ airlines฀ don’t฀ give฀ you฀ the฀ extra things.Thatswhytheflightwassocheap.Be-sides,Ilikedplayingbingoandthatoneflightattendant฀was฀really฀funny.” I฀ couldn’t฀ argue฀ with฀ that.฀ He฀ had฀ gotten฀ upandgivenusoursafetyinstructionsjustbe-fore฀we฀took฀off.฀He฀then฀went฀on฀to฀give฀the฀ “Top฀Ten฀Reasons฀to฀Fly฀a฀Discount฀Airline.”฀ ThesereasonsincludedTheyletyouflyinsidethe฀ plane,”฀ “You฀ don’t฀ have฀ to฀ worr y฀ about฀ whatthefirst-classpassengersareeating,and “They฀ can฀ park฀ the฀ plane฀ anywhere฀ because they’re฀ not฀ afraid฀ of฀ it฀ getting฀ dented฀ by฀ the฀ other฀planes’฀doors.” “How฀ are฀ you฀ two฀ doing?”฀ another฀ one of฀ the฀ flight฀ attendants฀ asked฀ as฀ she฀ hovered฀ over฀us. “Good,฀fine,”฀I฀said.฀ Maybe฀it฀was฀a฀discount฀airline,฀but฀all฀the฀ flight฀ attendants฀ had฀ been฀ really฀ friendly฀ to us.฀They฀took฀turns฀coming฀over฀and฀talking฀ to฀ us฀ and฀ of fering฀ us฀ drinks฀ of฀ pop฀ —฀ there฀ wasn’t฀ a฀ meal฀ on฀ the฀ flight,฀ but฀ they’d฀ pro-vided฀ enough฀ Coke,฀ pretzels฀ and฀ cookies฀ to fill฀us฀up. I฀guess฀they฀really฀didn’t฀have฀much฀choice฀
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